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Four Internets

Data, Geopolitics, and the Governance of Cyberspace

Kieron O'Hara Wendy Hall Vinton Cerf



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Oxford University Press
05 November 2021
The Internet has become a staple of modern civilized life, now as vital a utility as electricity. But despite its growing influence, the Internet isn't as stable as it might seem; rather, it can be best thought of as a network of networks reliant on developing technical and social measures to function, including hardware, software, standards, and protocols. As millions of new internet users sign on each year, governing bodies need to balance evolving social ideas surrounding internet use against shifting political pressures on internet governance--or risk disconnection.

Four Internets offers a revelatory new approach for conceptualizing the Internet and understanding the sometimes rival values that drive its governance and stability. Four Internets contends that the apparently monolithic Internet is in fact maintained by four distinct value systems--the Silicon Valley Open Internet, the Brussels Bourgeois Internet, the DC Commercial Internet, and the Beijing Paternal Internet--competing to determine the future directions of internet affordances for freedom, innovation, security, and human rights. Starting with an analysis of the original vision of an Open Internet, the book outlines challenges facing this vision and the subsequent rise of other internets popularized through political and monetary machinations. It then unravels how tensions between these internets play out across politics, economics, and technology, and offers perspectives on potential new internets that might arise from emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and smart cities. The book closes with an evaluation of whether all these models can continue to co-exist--and what might happen if any fall away. Visionary and accessible, Four Internets lends readers the confidence to believe in a diverse yet resilient Internet through a deeper understanding of this everyday commodity.
By:   ,
Foreword by:  
Imprint:   Oxford University Press
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 242mm,  Width: 164mm,  Spine: 29mm
Weight:   616g
ISBN:   9780197523681
ISBN 10:   0197523684
Pages:   344
Publication Date:  
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active
Foreword Preface Acknowledgements Chapter One: Preliminary concepts: Networks and data PART I: THE FIRST INTERNET: THE SILICON VALLEY OPEN INTERNET Chapter Two: How the Internet developed Chapter Three: Governing the Internet Chapter Four: The vision of the Open Internet Chapter Five: Policy question: How can quality be ensured in an open system like Wikipedia? PART II: ALTERNATIVES TO OPENNESS Chapter Six: Openness and its discontents Chapter Seven: The second Internet: The Brussels Bourgeois Internet Chapter Eight: Policy question: When is surveillance justified? Chapter Nine: The third Internet: The DC Commercial Internet Chapter Ten: Policy question: How can competition against the tech giants be fostered? Chapter Eleven: The fourth Internet: The Beijing Paternal Internet Chapter Twelve: Policy question: Is Huawei infrastructure a threat to Western national security? Chapter Thirteen: The Moscow spoiler model Chapter Fourteen: Policy question: Is a sovereign Internet feasible? Chapter Fifteen: Peaceful co-existence PART III: FUTURES Chapter Sixteen: India, the swing state Chapter Seventeen: Policy question: When should personal data cross borders? Chapter Eighteen: Artificial Intelligence Chapter Nineteen: Smart cities and the Internet of Things Chapter Twenty: Social machines Chapter Twenty-One: The unity of freedom Glossary of abbreviations References Endnotes

Kieron O'Hara is a philosopher and computer scientist who researches the social and political effects of technology, specialising in the World Wide Web. His particular interests are in privacy, trust, and digital modernity. He has also written extensively on conservatism and the British Conservative Party. He is an Emeritus Fellow at the University of Southampton. Dame Wendy Hall, DBE, FRS, FREng, is Regius Professor of Computer Science, Associate Vice President of International Engagement, and Executive Director of the Web Science Institute at the University of Southampton. She became a Dame Commander of the British Empire in the 2009 UK New Year's Honours list, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering. Dame Wendy was co-chair of the UK government's AI Review and the first Skills Champion for AI in the UK. In May 2020, she was appointed as Chair of the Ada Lovelace Institute and she serves as a fellow of the Atlantic Council GeoTech Center. Vinton Cerf is the Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist of Google, LLC.

Reviews for Four Internets: Data, Geopolitics, and the Governance of Cyberspace

A stunning challenge to notions of a fixed and idealized Internet and a must-read account of how many geopolitical networks can, and must, co-exist. * Laura DeNardis, Professor at American University and author of The Internet in Everything: Freedom and Security in a World with No Off Switch * O'Hara and Hall define four ideal types, anchored in concrete examples, to capture evolving visions and realities of the Internet. Written in an engaging and accessible style, Four Internets provides an original perspective of value to anyone interested in the key social, technical, and governance issues shaping the global future of the digital age. * William H. Dutton, Founding Director of the Oxford Internet Institute * Four Internets reveals how the behemoth tech sectors in the United States and China tell only part of the story about governance in the digital age. Readers interested in international relations, global commerce, and technology policy will enjoy delving into this rich account of global network complexity. * Aynne Kokas, University of Virginia and the Baker Institute China Studies Program * The Internet has profoundly changed the world, but it has many possible futures. This excellent book tells you what some of the most important ones could look like. * Joseph S. Nye, former Dean of the Harvard Kennedy School and author of Do Morals Matter? Presidents and Foreign Policy from FDR to Trump * Our economic and social health increasingly depends upon the global internet, yet as O'Hara and Hall warn, its future is up for grabs. They expertly lay out four possible digital futures, with widely differing consequences for us all. A must read for all concerned about international affairs, innovation, wealth creation, and personal privacy. * Sir David Omand, former UK Security and Intelligence Coordinator and Director of GCHQ * Today, especially in the context of Covid-19, the internet is part of all our lives. For those who want to know more-the origins and future direction of the internet, the forces creating the 'splinternet,' the implications of AI, IoT, and social machines-this book is invaluable. * JP Rangaswami, Chairman of the Web Science Trust *

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